LEADERS - not followers

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Fourth Millennium 17


For WIJ 16 Brand New Day
Matinee Muse Power Of Imagination
Sunday scribblings Phantoms And Shadows

11 Shades Of Grey

Sleep, and its confusing, unrelated sequence of dreams, added further irritation to the persistence and torment of unanswered questions that Marc’s lengthy explanations, or suppositions, had provoked. The promise of answers; clarification, had been dangled tantalisingly before the eyes of the three friends. The bait had been cast, and the collective curiosity that had been aroused, even prior to meeting Marc, now became an obsessive requirement that could not be permitted to elude them. Marc’s indication that the details they craved, required the fulfilment of certain conditions, and would be presented to them in ‘qualifying stages’, was clearly a reference to the even greater complexity of the difficulties they would, undoubtedly encounter, once they had confirmed their already pre-determined decision to continue with their quest. Like everything else, it was a process, and had to be allowed to unfold, without artificial influences that mere desire might inspire. Analysis, logic, and dedication, would have to overshadow the compelling radiance of the trophy they sought. The ultimate goal; the priceless treasure of truth, could so easily, and so rapidly, mutate into a shallow lie, if the obsession were allowed to become dependence; addiction. The guiding light it offered could become a blinding beam of intensity, burning with the deceit of fool’s gold. It was the realisation of this depressing factor that tempered the inquisitive yearnings of the trio, and disciplined their malnourished attitudes.
Ironically, their patient, controlled approach was a direct result of the doctrines of the regime, under which they endured existence in the Nation. ‘Questions and lies; if you don’t ask, you don’t get; if you don’t want, you don’t ask’; the slogan that had been instilled into the consciousness of each inhabitant of the Nation, practically from birth. The phrase was designed and practiced, with great success, to deter the ‘unconstitutional’ concept of creative thought, and the potential storm that the possession, let alone the interpretation of concepts, could create.
One question, however, which seemed entirely pertinent to the continuity of the quest, repeatedly visited Starling’s thoughts. Although he believed he knew the only possible answer, he felt it prudent to pose it to Marc, for two basic reasons. One; he would be able to gain a clearer insight into Marc’s pattern of preparation for a task. Two; he would be able to assess the competence of his own idea.
A third, coincidental outcome, may be the introduction of the prospect of options. Alternatives, or back-up plans, may be luxuries that would be denied them because of the restraints imposed on them by the nature of the quest. At the very least, they would prove invaluable assets of increasing rarity, as progress was either granted, or thwarted by that unknown quantity, circumstance.
Starling delivered his question with a certain amount of expectancy that possibly hinted at his possession of a credible and practical solution.
“I understand the requirement for a proactive approach, from us, to certain predicaments that, tackled effectively, will determine our OWN effectiveness, but tell me please, Carp…or Marc; how do YOU envisage actually ‘escaping’ from the Nation?”
Marc’s response was predictably matter of fact, at the same time as being an invitation to Starling, to demonstrate his initiative.
“We have but one means of transport available. With or without it, the ocean is what lies between us and St. George. I propose we FIND my boat.
First and foremost, we must confirm the continued existence of my boat, then evaluate, and if necessary, restore its seaworthiness. Finally we will navigate to the ‘Ring’. There, our real trials begin.” Marc let out a sigh and continued. “Life used to be good…better at least; simpler, believe it or not, on St. George. Unrestricted travel was permitted; encouraged…AND it was safe. One would think that progress would have been made in a hundred years, but time seems to have…correction HAS, unquestionably, stood still in the Nation.
I appreciate that nobody is officially aware of the former existence of boats, ships and sailing vessels, but it is quite clear to anyone, with ANY knowledge of the properties of water and air, that certain objects are able to float, while others sink. I suppose most people attribute this to the weight of an individual item, and the forces of gravity. They are probably unable to contemplate the concept of water-based transport of objects unable to float on their own merits; their density. I also appreciate that all forms of water-based transport were abolished at the time of the ‘Purges’. I realise that this was mainly because sea-going craft were no longer relevant modes of transport, but in practical terms, it was yet another restriction, imposed on personal liberties.
YOUR initial task will be to determine by what means, if any, we are able to gain access to beyond the coastal defensive wall.”
The one-on-one conversation continued, with Nightingale and Rose content to listen, and wait for its conclusion.
“That ought not to present too much of a problem.” Starling sounded confident. “The guards here are not as efficient as the ‘Service Personnel’ in our Sector. As long as you possess official proof of your travelling permission, which is generally issued only to ‘official’ government representatives…for which I easily qualified myself…they don’t even bother to ask any questions.” He displayed his travel permission disc. “I’ve ALREADY put this to use, in order to gain access to beyond the wall. Although, officially, only Nightingale and I are included in its validity, it was simple enough to invent an excuse for taking Rose along with us. I’m sure it will serve, equally effectively, to repeat the exercise; this time with YOU in tow.” Starling presented his solution and awaited its evaluation.
“This is precisely the kind of creativity so many of the previous candidates were, sadly, lacking. You see Starling; physical abilities as well as mental agility, do not come from the tools one employs to perform an action or activity. They come from here;” Marc patted his chest, indicating his heart; “inside one’s very essence. It is possible to apply the principles, that each of us possesses; has acquired by association, to ALL things; everything we do; everything we ARE.
The revelation of your ‘disc of authority’ could speed things up exponentially.” Marc was duly impressed, allowing Starling to add further comment.
“Something I learnt from Robin was the discipline of studying reactions. I picked up the principles he taught me, very quickly, and in this short space of time, I have come to learn, and more importantly, UNDERSTAND, much about human nature, and how simple it can often be, to manipulate a given situation to your own advantage.
Robin taught me that reactions are not ALWAYS opposite and equal to the actions that cause them, and it is the difference between one reaction and another that enables us to evaluate a situation. In the case of the security staff, at the wall, I just played off their arrogance as the means to my end.” Starling believed his mentor, Robin, had taught him well.
Marc responded with his own assessment.
“By ‘arrogance’, Starling, I assume that what you REALLY mean is ‘self-confidence’, which YOU possess in spades. It is the CLASH of one person’s arrogance against another’s that determines the TRUE strength of an individual’s personality. The inevitable outcome, without exception, is that the stronger PERSONALITY emerges victorious.
In many ways, or in one way in particular, ‘arrogance’ is an indication of a highly sophisticated, organised and advanced intellect. I don’t refer to ‘bravado’ or ‘impetuosity’. If one TRULY knows one’s self, one will become aware of one’s boundless capabilities; and it is the reactions of others that influence one’s acquaintance with one’s TRUE self. This is what allows one to realise one’s true POTENTIAL.
It is MY considered opinion that REACTIONS, however they may APPEAR, are in fact opposite AND equal, just as the laws of Physics dictate. In human perception, the reactions of SOME seem POSITIVE, while those of OTHERS appear NEGATIVE. However, if we put this into PERSPECTIVE, they ACTUALLY amount to PRECISELY, ABSOLUTELY the same thing.
If one is able, capable of DRAWING from the ENERGY created by BOTH examples of PERCEIVED reaction, to one’s own ACTIONS, one will discover that BOTH will produce an IDENTICAL end –result.
Allow me to pose a brace of rhetorical questions, in order to illustrate my point.
On how many occasions have YOU been able to achieve the ‘impossible’, just because others have ‘willed’ you to do so, by their support of your cause?
By the same token, on how many occasions have you achieved a similar result, by your OWN ‘will’, in order to prove your doubters WRONG; accepting their apparently unfeasible challenge, and claiming victory?
Sometimes it is necessary to FOCUS on the ACTUAL reaction, not on what one merely PERCEIVES as the reaction. This is where most people become confused with the principle of Newton’s law. The REAL reaction, in this instance, is not that of your CHALLENGER, but your OWN.”
Marc’s deliberately excessive use of stress on particular words, or phrases, highlighted his specific interpretation of what was, essentially, an absolute. However, he emphasised correctly that it was not possible for everyone to fully understand and appreciate the principles of absolutes. His characteristic quotation mark animations, which Starling now realised Robin, and others had merely inherited, increased the dramatic effect of, as well as adding further emphasis to, his consideration.
Starling’s revised understanding was that, although Robin had, in all likelihood, misinterpreted or misunderstood the premise; the fact that his assessment of what he only PERCEIVED to be the real reactions to any given actions was what determined the eventual outcome of his analysis; it was in fact, what validated them.
He thanked Marc for his explanation, and turned to Nightingale and Rose.
“Well, it’s down to us now, let’s use today to prepare ourselves and tomorrow we’ll make our initial move. Marc, do you go along with that?”
“That’s the kind of decision making ability my previous ‘guides’ were lacking. Tomorrow it is; get everything ready you consider useful.”

Copyright © Stanislaw Skibinski